Young children used to be given senna, castor oil or cascara

Dear Editor,

My husband and I were shocked to learn of the deaths of the two young sisters through drinking senna, to loosen their bowels. The other preparation, presumably to stop them ‘going’ too much, combined with the senna, seemed to have had a harmful effect on their fragile bodies.

As young children we were given senna, castor oil, or cascara during school holidays or at weekends, to ‘clear’ us out.  As I recall, 2/3 senna pods were put in a glass of water and left overnight.  The next morning each of us took a few gulps of the tasteless light brown mixture. After a while, it did its job and we were fine.  Hearing what happened to those children was pretty scary. Without due care, that could have been our fate.

Let us hope the parents find the strength eventually to live as normal a life as possible.

Yours faithfully,
G Dennison

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